Abridged History of the 10th Age
It is thought that gnomes are related to dwarves, even by scholars of both persuasions. As such, gnomes are often treated as equals by dwarves and vice-versa. They are much more likely to work together than with any outside races. However, their temperaments are quite different. While dwarves do value hard work, no one values it more than a gnome. This causes gnomes to work until exhaustion, sometimes forgoing sleep for days while crafting or mining. Gnomish communities are often mixed gnome-dwarf settlements, though there are is also a fair number of gnomes who chose to live in forested lands, which dwarves generally eschew.
Many gnomes also have a bent towards the scholarly, studying ancient texts and manuscripts and trying to piece together the history of the world. A prime example of this is Hamish Letterfriend, one of the members of the Grand Conclave.
Originally brought from the forested areas near Silversong in order to work on the keep of Soturi the Renegade (see Soturi’s Stronghold), the Smalwood Gnomes have developed a way of life that is at once very much like gnomish society the world over and also filled with completely bizarre nuances.
For example, while most gnomes are sedentary, Smalwood Gnomes love to travel. They constantly roam from place to place within the Smalwood and in the world at large. For this reason, their homes are rarely permanent but rather are composed of a series of collapsible tents that can be folded up and carried on the back. These colorful tents denote a Smalwood Gnomish settlement anywhere in the North and, since their long dwelling in the Smalwood, this strain of gnome can be FOUND almost anywhere in the North.
With an extremely tight society based on kinship (and in which EVERYONE is related) the Smalwood gnomes can seem closed off to outsiders and, indeed, rumors abound that they treat other races as sheep to be fleeced if the opportunity arises. Lying to the “big folk” isn’t considered lying at all!
While there are many of these gnomes in the Smalwood itself, they have since tramped all over creation and can now be found anywhere in the North. However, Smalwood society is focused on the forest and most will visit the Wood at least one in their wandering lives. Smalwood gnomes are known to get on well with halflings and dwarves, but rarely with larger outsiders.